Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 194, Issue 8, pp 719–724 | Cite as

Gallium(III), cobalt(III) and copper(II) protoporphyrin IX exhibit antimicrobial activity against Porphyromonas gingivalis by reducing planktonic and biofilm growth and invasion of host epithelial cells

  • Teresa OlczakEmail author
  • Dorota Maszczak-Seneczko
  • John W. Smalley
  • Mariusz Olczak
Short Communication


Porphyromonas gingivalis acquires heme for growth, and initiation and progression of periodontal diseases. One of its heme acquisition systems consists of the HmuR and HmuY proteins. This study analyzed the antimicrobial activity of non-iron metalloporphyrins against P. gingivalis during planktonic growth, biofilm formation, epithelial cell adhesion and invasion, and employed hmuY, hmuR and hmuY-hmuR mutants to assess the involvement of HmuY and HmuR proteins in the acquisition of metalloporphyrins. Iron(III) mesoporphyrin IX (mesoheme) and iron(III) deuteroporphyrin IX (deuteroheme) supported planktonic growth of P. gingivalis cells, biofilm accumulation, as well as survival, adhesion and invasion of HeLa cells in a way analogous to protoheme. In contrast, cobalt(III), gallium(III) and copper(II) protoporphyrin IX exhibited antimicrobial activity against P. gingivalis, and thus represent potentially useful antibacterial compounds with which to target P. gingivalis. P. gingivalis hmuY, hmuR and hmuY-hmuR mutants showed decreased growth and infection of epithelial cells in the presence of all metalloporphyrins examined. In conclusion, the HmuY protein may not be directly involved in transport of free metalloporphyrins into the bacterial cell, but it may also play a protective role against metalloporphyrin toxicity by binding an excess of these compounds.


Porphyromonas gingivalis HmuY Non-iron metalloporphyrins Heme Biofilm Epithelial cell invasion 



This work was supported in part by grants nos. N401 029 32/0742 and N N303 518438 from the Department of Scientific Research, Ministry of Science and Higher Education and by Wroclaw Research Center EIT + under the project “Biotechnologies and advanced medical technologies—BioMed” (POIG 01.01.02-02-003/08/00) financed from the European Regional Development Fund (Operational Program Innovative Economy, 1.1.2) (TO). Part of the data was presented at 88th IADR General Session, Barcelona, Spain, 14–17 July 2010.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Olczak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dorota Maszczak-Seneczko
    • 1
  • John W. Smalley
    • 2
  • Mariusz Olczak
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biochemistry, Faculty of BiotechnologyUniversity of WroclawWroclawPoland
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Infection and Global HealthUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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